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As we shift from homes to apartments, inner-city lu xury living need not necessarily be quite as 'inner-city' as you would expect.


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text Gillian Serisier photography Courtesy Bates Smart

The Capiro!, South Yarra, designed by Bares Smart, is poised on the juncture of worlds. This is inner-city living encapsulated in elegant form, envisioned by J effery Copolov in this case, and imbued with the grace and luxury of a fine city hotel, without actually being in the inner-city. In fact, it is the 'near enough' solution, surrounded by the lifestyle of great shopping and dining most suited ro apartment living. There is also something of the gated community ro this vertical translation of suburban wanes - which makes it sound terrible - yet in the face of the reality of where you might want ro live is actually wholly desirable and de rigueur ro contemporary apartment living . The building itself comprises two elliptical rowers of reflective g lass and fine metallic finishes; the tallest, at 38 floors , will be rhe highest outside the Melbourne CBD and is being routed as the gateway ro the eastern suburbs. The two slender rises optimise light and airflow and allow

Texture has been privileged over colour in design.

solid timber floorboards chosen for textural variations over colour and room layouts that optimise light flow into even rhe deepest sec rooms. Practicality has been a firmly resolved consideration, with abundant srorage and individually designed floor plans that optimise spatial use. The ability to change rooms and expand space has also been addressed with many of the apartments boasting sliding screens of timber and leather ro hide study alcoves and kitchens. Australia's recent love affair with off-the-plan apartments has prompted a plethora of design disasters, from hideous feature walls ro g immickdriven chaos . Copolov sees this as endemic ro the industry, where many are exploring design options without understanding that it is possible ro be, "unabashedly modern and contemporary, bur nor avant-garde for the sake of the avantgarde". Rather, he sees it as important ro "create a shell that is welcoming ro the diversity of things people bring ro an apartment".

Screens allow study areas to be concealed .

There is abundant evidence in the Bates Smart catalogue to support high expectations for a shimmering and ephemeral building that will indeed be liquid in appearance.

single floor penthouses to occupy a large portion of the building (from the 29th level) with panoramic views raking in Port Phillip Bay and the Dandenong Ranges. Bares Smarr design direcror, J effery Copolov, says of the form and exterior finish, that while it was important ro create "a focal point, or something that is impressive , ro raise the cali bre of architecture in that area," the form itself, and where it would be viewed from, allow it ro, "dissolve against the sky as a streamlined skin of liquid appearance." While this may be poetic, there is abundant evidence in the Bares Smarr catalogue ro support high expecrarions for a shimmering and ephemeral building that will indeed be liquid in appearance. The materiality of the building is solidly classic and has been extended ro the interiors, which are a rich amalgam of high-quality, high-finish, timber, srone, l.e ather and g lass in two neutral palettes. This is nicely done with well-proportioned rooms boasting three-metre high ceilings, wide,


To this end, the design remains a background ro any style of furnishings and art. The choice of texture over colour as a driver, for example, has particular relevance ro the interior as sensitive ro the variety of personalities that will be occupying the apartments, as it readily rakes second place over art, knick-knacks and the general flotsam and jetsam of a life lived . Interestingly, artwork plays a large role in the thinking behind the design and a great many walls have been left clear with the expectation of housing generous collections. If the works by Judith Wrig ht used in the display unit are anything ro go by, the expectation of calibre is also high. In terms of the previous and provocative suggestion of the gated community, the building has some incredibly well thought out domestic contrivances for chose shifting from a traditional house. The design is very keenly aware of its role as an alternative ro the stand-alone dwelling and has sought ro create community spaces that are

Neutral but natural finishes add warmth.

Expansive surfaces make a perfect home for art.


On the fringe of the central city, The Capitol will be the tallest building in the area by a cons iderable margin, greatly contributing to densification.

The choice of texture over colour as a driver has particular relevance to the interior as sensitive to the variety of personalities that will be occupying the apartments, as it readily takes second place over art knick-knacks and the general flotsam and jetsam of a life lived.

at once open and contained . To start with, the foyer functions as an extension of the shopping precinct, but quickly closes to form a haven of amenities for the residents alone. On the rooftop, a series of gardens, designed as discrete pockets, will allow residents to host barbecues and events without having to engage in a communal sausage sizzle. Similarly, a djning room on this same podium level wi ll be available to residents for more formal entertainments. Luxury as an element of living surrounds the project and the pool, for example, and has been designed to create a relaxed spa ambience with an abundance of light and air (signature Copolov), further endorsed by abundant landscaped plantings - rather than the naked splash of blue boasted by most complexes. The Station precinct in South Yarra is currently a flux of building activity with cranes on every corner and some well-known names emblazoned across fences . That Bates Smart is joining this move speaks volumes for the area's potential as a bastion for fine living equal to the Chapel Street renown. (inside) > theca p .au


The bathroom boasts suitably luxurious natu ral f ini shes.

Room layouts have been designed to optimise light penetration.

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Profile for Bates Smart Architects

The Capitol, Inside Design Review, Issue 67, July 2010  

The Capitol, Inside Design Review, Issue 67, July 2010